Q: “Great Morning Atty. Real! In the parental leave for a solo parent, who falls under the category “solo parent”?
I’m a single mother and I have already applied for my benefits. I have received a letter from DOLE stating that all single parents must have parental leave and a flexible schedule as much as possible. I forwarded that email from DOLE to my employer, and they said that they will review first and will coordinate this to their lawyer. It has been a few months and until now, even with my constant follow up, I still haven’t received any feedback. I had an agreement with them that in the meantime while they are checking, I will be using my Vacation Leaves first and will offset this with the parental leaves when they have clarified with DOLE.
How long should I wait for feedback? What should be my next step?” - Mommy-in-waiting
A: Dear Mommy-in-waiting,
Section 6 of the Act defines who is a solo parent; among them:
An unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear his/her child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution;
Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance, or absence that lasts for at least one (1) year
Under this Section, even a father may be considered a solo parent “if he is left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood” due to any of the following:
Death of spouse
Detention or service of sentence of the spouse for a criminal conviction for at least one year
Physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner
Legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one year provided that he is entrusted with the custody of the children
Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church, provided that he is entrusted with the custody of the children